*’Brady’ No. 1 *’Hunted’ Fifth *’Dead’ Weak

Paramount’s “The Brady Bunch Movie” continued to lead the box office with a $10 million week. That was 42% off its opener, with the new frame registering a per-print average of $5,160.

Most of the titles in the marketplace performed to expectations. Universal’s freshman “The Hunted” preemed with $3.5 million and that was good (a relative term) enough to squeak into fifth spot. But the martial arts pic had a less-than-robust $2,270 average.

The other major debut, Savoy’s “The Walking Dead,” didn’t show any more significant strength. It registered in ninth spot with a gross of $2.9 million. But with average dates of $3,290, the Vietnam combat film will be marching out of theaters soon.

Exhibitors as well as distribution reps had foreseen a soft first quarter based on the product lineup. Still, expectations were far better. Marking on the curve, “Brady Bunch” is a major hit. But the refugee from sitcomland will not generate close to the gross of such TV-inspired fare as “The Addams Family” or “Wayne’s World.” It’s more in the B.O. arena of sequels to those successful ventures. But make no mistake, the modestly budgeted “Brady” is a success story for its studio.

The bulk of pix currently in wide release simply aren’t cutting it commercially. Most are posting averages of about $2,500, which has theater owners twitchy about product set to debut in the coming weeks.

The most impressive expansion last weekend was not Sony’s relaunch of “The Shawshank Redemption” but Gramercy/Alliance’s widening of “Shallow Grave.” The Scottish-set thriller added 60 screens for a $617,000 gross and averages of close to $10,000. Though hardly a runaway success, “Shallow” is getting good word of mouth considering its lack of marquee names and press ballyhoo.

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